top of page

Colic and Gas

  • Some babies develop excessive crying in infancy. This often starts at about 2 weeks of life, peaks at about 6 weeks, and lasts through the first 3 months of life, occasionally longer.

  • It is often worse in the evening (think about when your child was most active before he was born).

  • When this discomfort occurs for more than 3 days a week, for more than 3 hours a day, over the course of 3 weeks , the child has met the criteria for infantile colic.

  • Even in babies who do not meet these criteria, it is normal for infants to be very gassy, and sometimes to seem uncomfortable with gas.

  • There is no known cause of colic, however some theories include: immaturity of the gut, gas, alterations in gut flora, possibly headaches, or simply is part of the baby’s temperament

  • Gas drops like simethicone and gripe water have not been shown to help more than placebo when studied by research.

  • Some studies suggest a probiotic containing a ‘reuteri’ strain may help with infant fussiness and gas - we suggest 5 drops of Gerber Soothe ® daily or ½ tsp of Primadophilus Reuteri ® if you choose to see if this helps.

  • While distressing for parents, infant colic is benign and self-limited. This will not last indefinitely!

  • Trying calming techniques such as the “5 s’s”.

    • Note: we do not endorse the Snoo® .

  •  This combines techniques that may help to reduce crying: a pacifier (sucking),  white noise (shushing), a swing rhythmic movement (swaying), positioning (stomach or side lying while awake) , swaddling, as well as other interventions such as warm baths or infant massage have been suggested and could help to soothe an infant with colic. Note: there has been limited to no studies to show these techniques help, but are generally thought safe for infants. Swaddling may be soothing.

  • Breastfeeding mothers: may attempt an ‘elimination’ or hypoallergenic diet to see if it helps her child. This eliminates foods such as milk, eggs, nuts, and possibly  wheat. To try this, avoid one of these foods (or food groups eg, dairy) for a one-week trial period while you monitor the infant's crying. You can restart the food if you do not see improvement. We might recommend this in particular for for babies whose mothers have asthma, eczema, allergies, or if he has symptoms of cow's milk sensitivity (think abnormal stools, very sensitive skin, wheezing, or vomiting).

  • Formula fed infants: Some studies suggest that infants with colic improve when their formula is switched to a soy-based or and extensively hydrolyzed formula. Please note that studies addressing these interventions are inconclusive (see above for children that may be more likely to benefit from this).

  • Herbs such as chamomile, fennel seed, and balm-mint are thought to have antispasmodic properties and have been suggested for colic. Although a few studies have shown improvement in infants given a tea made with a specific mix of herbs, please be cautious about trying this.

  • Colic generally means there are times during the day the child appears content followed by colicky episodes. If a baby ever is truly inconsolable (cannot be calmed even with carrying, pacifier, walking, etc) she should be evaluated by a medical professional.

bottom of page